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When ‘Conservatives’ Turned Into Radicals - The New York Times
From my first year of college to the weeks in which, as editor in chief, I closed my final edition of the paper, I came to a realization: Whatever conservatism told me it was intellectually — whatever ideas we discussed, whatever policy papers I read — could never compete with what conservatism was in practice. At the conferences the Collegiate Network sent me to, no one was discussing tax policy or the nature of effective governance; they were debating whether Barack Obama was a “real” American and whether Sarah Palin could unseat him in 2012, based on pure and unfettered loathing. Nothing was being conserved.

Conservative voters have known this for some time. This is why they voted last year for a president who swore not to preserve but to upend. Since Barry Goldwater’s 1964 campaign for the presidency, Republicans have worked to maintain a two-tiered party — one for the ideologues who believed in Burke and Buckley, free markets and free minds, and one for the voters, who are often moved less by a system of ideas than by id and grievance. It was always the voters, though, who really mattered. And it was the voters who won.
conservatism  politics 
5 days ago by ayjay
Why the NeverTrumpers look just plain silly. Steve Hayward explains. latimes.com/opinion/la-oe-…
This hitherto ideologically unmoored man has set in motion an administration arguably more conservative than Ronald Reagan’s. While the Congress controlled by his adopted party remains gridlocked, Trump is rolling back regulations and a number of the Obama administration’s most controversial achievements, including the internal structure of Obamacare and the Clean Power Plan. His foreign policy resets look increasingly sure-footed. His judicial nominees are uniformly conservative. It is inconceivable that any of the other leading Republican candidates from the 2016 cycle would have governed as boldly as Trump has.

Trump’s rhetorical and behavioral recklessness — his government-by-tweet — still make it hard to discern whether there is a method to his madness, or whether he is just going with the populist flow he helped unleash. He has yet to be tested with a serious crisis, where showmanship and bluster count for nothing. Aristotle wrote that “rule shows the man,” but what we’re seeing so far is still confusing.
Trump  conservatism 
12 days ago by lukemperez
Conservatism Fails to Act Responsibly | Matthew Loftus | Mere Orthodoxy
Last Friday Kevin D. Williamson published an essay at National Review that in many ways represents mainstream conservatism’s highs and lows. By turns hilarious, insightful, bizarre, obnoxious, confused, and offensive, Williamson explores the ugly ways in which Trump and his cadre of right-wing media sycophants now perform a vulgar “real American” shtick to distract from the fact that they have nothing of substance to say and their fans have nothing to be responsible for. His critiques of right-wing elites land beautifully (admittedly, their intellectual and moral stagnation make such a task easier every day), but he goes further to reveal an equal or greater disdain for the “white underclass.”

..Williamson’s main point, which he summarizes as thus:
Feeding such people the lie that their problems are mainly external in origin — that they are the victims of scheming elites, immigrants, black welfare malingerers, superabundantly fecund Mexicans, capitalism with Chinese characteristics, Walmart, Wall Street, their neighbors — is the political equivalent of selling them heroin. (And I have no doubt that it is mostly done for the same reason.) It is an analgesic that is unhealthy even in small doses and disabling or lethal in large ones. The opposite message — that life is hard and unfair, that what is not necessarily your fault may yet be your problem, that you must act and bear responsibility for your actions — is what conservatism used to offer, before it became a white-minstrel show. It is a sad spectacle, but I do have some hope that the current degraded state of the conservative movement will not last forever.
..One of the clearest lessons of the past two years is that “the conservative movement” has for some time been a large number of power-worshipping Trump-loving sheep waiting for their Trump, corralled by a handful of ideologues on the billionaires’ ranch.

Every traditional right-wing voting bloc has come apart at the seams: “National security” has given way to wars a decade and a half long and still counting and new escapades in countries most of us can’t pronounce or find on a map. It still includes supporting our allies in campaigns of terror against civilians. “Economic growth” has become a mindless reflex to ensure that no undeserving human gets a penny of government aid while no business that might possibly create a job in the next decade fails to get a subsidy. “Family values” have suffered the most because of non-political currents, but many in the “Moral Majority” demonstrated that their principles were just window dressings on political ambitions. (Anyone who was willing to vote for Trump in order to protect their religious liberty from Clinton probably would have caved when she cracked down.)

..The second way that Williamson’s statement is malignant is that it actively discourages friendship with the poor and praises the sort of ignorance his statement is meant to lambast liberals for. The way that Williamson writes, it would seem that the best thing to do for our inner cities and Appalachia is to wall them off and open the gates when someone who works hard enough to buy a bus ticket out of there asks politely to leave in proper English. This is, for the most part, what we have been doing for many years now, coaching the best citizens of any community to get out at whatever cost and never look back.
..The “coming apart” phenomenon that Charles Murray describes and many conservatives grumble about is in no small part a result of our obsession with meritocracy. When we are constantly encouraging people who are born with or acquire the virtues necessary to live a stable life to shake the dust off their feet and abandon their dysfunctional friends, those left behind stagnate in ever-more-toxic dysfunction. A culture of hard work, thrift, and personal responsibility only emerges when people have enough financial capital to make those virtues pay off (less and less a reality as wages stagnate and jobs require skills that aren’t taught in high school) and enough people practicing those virtues to be a part of that community.

Conservatism rejects the deterministic economics that denies people their agency, but the modern conservative movement has preached an atomizing freedom that eviscerates the structures and relationships that help people to exercise agency. This is why the eloquent ideas of politicians like Mike Lee or Ben Sasse ring hollow: They are only willing to tinker with a handful of policies that might stop the tidal wave of atomization our society is experiencing. If we want to create a conservative movement robust enough to deal with the challenges America is facing, we’re going to have to work a lot harder and spend a lot more time with the poor so that we can understand what they need, want, and can contribute.

Part of that work is doing our research and trying out more radical ideas. The most prominent right-wing writers at various outlets (with a few exceptions like Lyman Stone, Jonathan Coppage, and Pascal-Emmanuel Gobry) are always suggesting the old wineskins of 20th-century conservatism, which is part of why their reformocon ideas have never taken off. Conservative health care wonks are constantly trying to repaint the burning Hindenburg that is our employer-based health insurance system. No conservative publication had any mention of focused deterrence until yesterday. Conservative education policy is oriented around using vouchers to help a larger percentage of kids get good grades so they can get a useless college degree. The few good ideas (like E-Verify for immigration or closing prisons for criminal justice reform) get drowned out by the populist rabble or lobbied to death.

More importantly, conservatism needs to decide what it is we’re trying to conserve and rewrite everything else around that. Conserving the institutions that help people to flourish – churches and families most prominent among them – is more fundamental than “liberty” or “small government”. A focus on the family will almost certainly require, though, that we buck the individualist-atomist elements of conservatism that have become ideological orthodoxy. I’ve advocated before for some of the more radical ideas that the American Solidarity Party is pushing, mostly because the vision of society that they describe is one that is best able to conserve human dignity and the institutions that inculcate virtue.


The eternal truth that we ought to proclaim loudly in word and deed is that God’s love for the poor is not dependent on how much responsibility they demonstrate. The freedom and wealth God has given us in America is a blessing that must be shared with others; we can argue about the most prudent way to steward our blessings but we cannot disguise our disinterest in solidarity with some pablum about agency or even with appeals for redistribution. Being friends with a lot of poor people will probably incline you a bit more towards redistribution, but it will probably also ensure you mean what you say whenever you bring up agency.
Conservatism  ChristianLiving  Goodread 
14 days ago by AfroMaestro
Psycho-Conservatism: What it Is, When to Doubt It | Otium
Another banger. > If you used evolved tacit knowledge, the verdict of history, and only the strongest empirical evidence, and were skeptical of everything else, you’d correctly conclude that in general, things shaped like airplanes don’t fly. The reason airplanes do fly is that if you shape their wings just right, you hit a tiny part of the parameter space where lift can outbalance the force of gravity. “Things roughly like airplanes” don’t fly, as a rule; it’s airplanes in particular that fly.
sarah_constantin  conservatism  psychology  evolution 
14 days ago by porejide

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